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McCain Reeling from Obama's Iraq Success

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain is fighting for this political future today following the stunning success achieved by Barack Obama over the past several days. McCain is trying to spin this against Obama, and has been unable to gain traction.

The media is awash in the last 24 hours with coverage of Sen. Barack Obama's trip to Iraq, and the central theme of the coverage is that the Iraqi government is on board with Obama's plan for a withdrawal of US combat forces in 16 months. ABC World News, in its lead story, said "Obama came to Baghdad and he brought his star power with him." The New York Times reports Obama "arrived in Baghdad on Monday, meeting with" Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki "and other senior Iraqi politicians," along with several US officials. The Financial Times says Obama "received a red carpet welcome from the Iraqi government, which called for the withdrawal of US combat forces by the end of 2010." Ali Dabbagh, an Iraqi government spokesman, "said the 2010 goal was an 'Iraqi vision'.

Having Iraqi PM Maliki agree with Obama's plan is a significant setback for McCain, who's been quoted stating that a 100 year U.S. presence in Iraq is reasonable. Maliki's comments followed closely similar sentiments made by Maliki following a meeting last week with President Bush.

Apparently the Republican plan to stay in Iraq and protect the oil company and defense industry interests there is resulting in this pushback from Maliki.

Now the focus is shifting to John McCain and his integrity. Back in April, 2004 Senator John McCain said that if the Iraqi government asked us to leave Iraq then we should leave, regardless of our own concerns over security.

Question: Let me give you a hypothetical, senator. What would or should we do if ... a so-called sovereign Iraqi government asks us to leave, even if we are unhappy about the security situation there? I understand it's a hypothetical, but it's at least possible.

McCAIN: Well, if that scenario evolves, then I think it's obvious that we would have to leave because-- if it was an elected government of Iraq-- and we've been asked to leave other places in the world. If it were an extremist government, then I think we would have other challenges, but I don't see how we could stay when our whole emphasis and policy has been based on turning the Iraqi government over to the Iraqi people.

Expect Obama to turn up the heat today and in the near future, pushing harder on his plan for a 16 month withdrawal. John McCain is in a tight spot, and his response to these developments may well seal his fate in the 2008 election.

Americans are tired of having swaggering bullies in the White House, and if McCain continues to oppose Maliki there is little chance for his success this November.


Republican John McCain worked Monday to wrestle the spotlight from Barack Obama's tour of Iraq by insisting he was right and the Democrat was wrong about the war.

As Mr. Obama toured the war zones trailed by network TV anchors, Mr. McCain ridiculed him from afar during a visit with former President George Bush at the former president's summer home on the Atlantic. At the same time, Mr. McCain released a new ad blaming Mr. Obama for higher gasoline prices.

Here we see that the GOP is resisting shaking the Osama bin-Laden boogeyman doll at the American electorate (a wise choice since bin-Laden's freedom underscores a significant failure of the Bush administration) and has decided to make Obama into a boogeyman instead.

It's Obama's fault gas prices are where they are?

The Republicans are lying to you again, America. Are you smart enough to figure it out this time?

Update: The McCain campaign appears to be attempting to wrestle the press away from Obama's camp this week by leaking rumors about McCain's VP choices.

Vice presidential speculation swirled anew yesterday following a report by the conservative columnist Robert Novak that Senator McCain may announce his running mate this week while his opponent, Senator Obama, is overseas.

THEY'RE LYING -- they have no intention of announcing the GOP VP, but they know if they tell this lie the press might pay closer attention to McCain this week than they would otherwise,

Update II: McCain surrogates are stating that McCain wants to pull the troops out of Iraq even sooner than Obama.

Wilson said at one point that McCain would like to pull most U.S. troops out of Iraq even faster than the 16-month timetable that Obama has suggested -- in 12 months if possible.

Wow. Talk about a man without principles and integrity-- McCain changes his tune faster than he changes out his campaign staff.



  • Newsweek - Yanking Our Chain? "Annoyed by wall-to-wall coverage of Obama's trip to the Mideast, the McCain campaign teased reporters about a potential VP announcement Tuesday."
  • FactCheck.org - McCain Ad a Full Tank of Nonsense "McCain ad says Obama's the guy to thank for emptying our wallets at the filling station. We say that's ridiculous."
  • Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle: McCain ad blaming Obama for high gas prices 'comical'

Pathetically comical is more like it. I think McSame may have jumped the shark with this day's events.

Update III: Novak admits that the McCain camp may have used him as a patsy to push the "VP selection this week" lie...

Robert Novak's big story last night -- that Republican John McCain might be about to announce his running mate -- may have just been "a dodge" by the campaign to try and grab some headlines away from Democrat Barack Obama, Novak just conceded on Fox News Channel.

Novak said he'd gotten the tip from a "very senior McCain aide" and that the campaign "suggested I put it out."

He called "another senior person" who wouldn't comment, other than to say "wouldn't this be a terrific week?" to announce a running mate, since Obama is overseas getting tons of media attention. "So I just put something on the Internet," Novak added.

But now, he said, he's been told by "certain people" that he may have been used:

McCain and his lying pack of campaign cheats... and now Novak is the Chump of the Week.

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Comments (2)

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Not much has changed in Ohio - lots of time left though...

McCain leads 79% to 21% among those who focus primarily on national security issues.

While that may have been the Ohio sentiment before Iraqi PM al-Maliki endorsed Barack Obama over John McSame, let's check back in a week and see how far McCain has fallen in one short week.

Then let's count the number of weeks until the November election.


Not being too insightful about "political speak", interpreting the nuances inherent in the public statements of either Obama or McCain is - for me - nothing compared to trying to do the same for statements emanating from the mouths of Middle East leaders. Maliki is the PM of Iraq and I feel he will (and probably should) latch on to any opportunity to focus on the cessation of American occupation in his country. It is understandably the proper thing to do, highlight nationalism when your country is occupied. But there are clearly enough caveats in his statements to imply a wide leeway so I interpret his words as merely symbolic. I think he is at least smart enough to know that there is an impression of progress in his country and if 16 months turns out to be too early and he cannot control the security situation in his country with what he has domestically, then his image will be....., well, I probably don't need to go any further. Of course, the Iranians, I'm sure, would love to help after the US leaves - especially if it's prematurely. If I remember correctly, Lee, you have not once been impressed by Maliki up until this point, anyway so I am not clear on the sudden fawning over him. As far as Obama's stunning success. If you mean because he hasn't had transportation problems or has not had to run from sniper fire like Hillary did, I guess his trip could be considered a stunning success. But from what I read elsewhere, the average "man on the street" in these Middle East countries is not really sure Obama would make a big difference in America's approach to foreign policy - if "he" is even aware Obama is in his country in the first place. Now Europe will be a different story so you probably could save the headline for that leg of his tour. McCain has got to stop trying to fight a press who for all intents and purposes can't see really why an election should not be simply substituted by a lavish coronation in November. But I don't know how he can do that. He has a very, very tough job in this regard and his public persona is light years behind that of the less substantive but more polished Obama. Lastly, Novak has been around awhile and I refuse to believe he is as naive to believe he has been or allowed himself to be "used" by the McCain campaign regarding the VP situation.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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